Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Another batch of Odia students who were stuck in war-ravaged Ukraine arrived at the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday evening. They were evacuated under Operation Ganga undertaken by the Union Government. 

Some of the students and their guardians recounted their harrowing experiences and ordeal during their stay in Ukraine amid the fierce attack by Russia.

“It’s a huge relief as we returned home. It was really scary and dangerous to live in the country amid massive Russian attack. We would go inside the bunker immediately after sirens sounded. The bunker was very dark and food and water was not available inside it,” said a student.

“I and my friends had to stay inside the bunker for 48 hours without food and water. There was no bed inside and we have to remain awake and alert during the period by sitting on the dirty floor,” she recounted.

Another student thanked the Indian embassy in Ukraine and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for making elaborate arrangement for their safe return.

“We are grateful to Indian embassy and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for extending their helping hands for our safe return from the war-ravaged country. They had also taken care of our food and all our journey expenses. Everything has been smooth and we are indebted,” said another student.

Sharing the ordeal of students in Ukraine, a guardian said, “Students were advised to return to their country before hands. However, they were not allowed by their respective universities. The varsity authorities thought that Russia would not indulge in war at this juncture of the pandemic and the students should stay back.”

“But when Russia started hurling bombs, Indian embassy urged the Indian students with not much urgency to return and others to stay back. The universities in this country are very much strict and they pressurised the students to stay back as they need 100 per cent attendance to appear in the examinations. However, situation went out of the control soon,” he said.

(Edited by Ramakant Biswas)

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